A review by Nalini Haynes
★★★★★ five out of five stars
Legion is a novella paired with The Emperor’s Soul in Gollancz’s review copy.
‘Legion’ is an irreverent nickname for Stephen Leeds who, claiming to be ordinary, surrounds himself with brilliant hallucinations (the legion; also a Biblical reference: ‘I am Legion for we are many,’ Mark 5:9) who help him solve mysteries.
Razon, an engineer, built a prototype camera to take photos of the past then he stole the camera from his employer. Monica is sent to hunt Razon down but, unable to locate Razon, Monica appeals to Stephen’s personal interests to secure his assistance.
This short, engaging mystery incorporates philosophical issues including definitions of sanity versus insanity and faith versus science. I commend Brandon Sanderson for where he takes these discussions and where he pauses so readers continue exploration without instruction.
Sanderson’s exploration of abnormal psychology and definitions of sanity versus insanity are accurate although his character’s condition appears unique to this fictional work.
Sanderson is a man of faith and a former missionary. His exploration of faith versus science is commendable especially when writing from an atheist’s point of view, limiting himself to pointing out the basic tenet of faith.
Legion is remarkable: it is incredibly difficult to create a consistent character of superior intelligence yet Sanderson has succeeded.
I highly recommend Legion as a mystery with philosophical layers adding flavour like an onion to a savoury dish. Legion is excellent fodder for discussion.
Brandon Sanderson was in Australia for an interview in 2012. Dark Matter Zine features a growing number of reviews of Brandon Sanderson’s novels but Way of Kings was my introduction to Brandon’s work.